Welcome to the first ever NYC Digital Waves Festival! What’s it all about? Sanda Htyte, Associate Producer of WNYC’s Radio Rookies, explains how an inspired network turned a simple dream into a major event. Register here to attend for free!
A couple of years ago Red Hook Radio held a youth conference at the Brecht Forum on the lower West Side in Manhattan, which became an intimate listening affair between RHI Radio and Radio Rookies youth. We realized at that moment that we need to do more to connect the youth in NYC. But it wasn’t till another youth-convening event more than a year later at the inaugural Baruch CUNY High School News Literacy conference at Baruch College that Radio Rootz’s Jackie Kook, RHI Radio’s Tony Schloss and I all started talking about the need to build a community where we can bring our youth together, share our resources and support each other.
Then about 3 weeks later, we met for lunch and over delicious lentil soup at Moustache. We shook hands, maybe even hugged, and decided to hold a youth conference in the summer of 2011. What had we gotten ourselves into?
A few months later we brought together youth and staff from RHI, Radio Rootz and Radio Rookies, and busted out a whiteboard and Post-It notes. We brainstormed ideas on everything from the name, to what kind of food to offer, to who to invite. We all agreed on calling it a Festival instead of a conference, and the name of Digital Waves. ‘Waves’ was for the summer feel, ‘Digital’ was a pretty obvious choice, and ‘Festival’ because it’s a celebration! And, “Conference sounds so boring,” as one youth put it. We also agreed on why this festival is needed—-we each go to conferences, and most times we leave feeling inspired but not quite connected. Sometimes expectations are high and not met, or there are no expectations at all and we figure that this was just another good professional development experience. That’s not what we want here with the Digital Waves Festival. We want the youth media makers, educators, consumers and community to be inspired, exchange ideas, engage, connect, create, and form lasting supportive relationships.
Will this happen at the Digital Waves Festival? We can only try. We came together because we all want the same things and finally communicated about it. We want to be a part of this youth media community and make it thrive! It’s starting small, but hopefully NYC Digital Waves Youth Media Festival will grow into a lasting network—we already added another partner organization, The LAMP!
Don’t miss the very first Digital Waves Youth Media Festival on Saturday, July 30th in NYC—click here to register and attend for free!